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June 24, 2017

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4th communique only a rumor: MOFA

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said that reports of a Fourth Joint Communique — one making it binding for the U.S. to abide by "One China" policy — so far were "pure rumor."

The Chinese-language Liberty Times quoted an unidentified source last week who said former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger had been pushing Beijing and Washington to sign a fourth communique.

Asked to comment, Christine Hsueh (薛美瑜), director general of Foreign Ministry's Department of North American Affairs, said that speculation on the possible signing of a new communique have been going on for years.

"Such rumors resurface whenever there is an upcoming meeting between leaders of both sides," she said.

She stressed that so far, a possible signing of a new U.S.-China communique was "pure rumor."

Taiwan government will be closely watching any issue that concerns Taiwan-U.S. and U.S.-China relations, she said.

The Three Joint Communiques, signed by Beijing and Washington, have played a crucial role in the normalization of relations between the two sides.

The U.S. commits to the "One China" policy based on the Three Joint Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act when dealing with its relations with two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

Chinese state media have previously called for a Fourth Joint Communique that makes it binding on the U.S. to comply with the "One China" policy, abolish the Taiwan Relations Act and stop selling arms to Taiwan, as well as to reinforce the previous three communiques.

Keeping Tabs on Trump-Xi Meet

The White House confirmed on Monday that planning for the meeting between President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping was "ongoing" but the date and place had yet to be confirmed.

U.S. media reports had said Xi would be visiting Mar-a-Lago April 6- 7 to meet with Trump.

"It's the purpose of this meeting... to help defuse tensions over North Korea and the recent deployment of a THAAD military battery to South Korea," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told media at a Monday briefing.

Asked about the upcoming meeting and on whether the Taiwan issue would be raised, Hsueh said the ministry was keeping a close tab on the issue.

Taiwan and U.S. have a "great communication channel" and as part of its standard practice, the U.S. will brief Taiwan on matters related to the meeting between American and Chinese leaders, she said.

Armitage in Taiwan

Also on Tuesday, Hsueh announced that former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was scheduled to arrive Taiwan later in the day for a four-day visit.

Leading a delegation of U.S. experts from the Project 2049 Institute, an American think tank focused on security issues and public policy in Central Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, Armitage is scheduled to meet with local government officials to discuss related issues and on Trump's policy in the region, she added.

Armitage had served as deputy secretary of state from 2001 to 2005 under George W. Bush.

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